Tesla Insurance has enabled its controversial driver safety score, which tracks driving data in real time, in California, its biggest market, but it is only for “educational purposes” and won’t affect premiums… for now.

Tesla had already introduced its own insurance product in California, but it didn’t utilize real-time driving data and Tesla’s safety score, which had been its original goal.

Before expanding its insurance product to other markets, the company wanted to build up its safety score system, which utilizes driving data collected in real time from Tesla vehicles to determine if you are a “good driver” based on things like the number of “Forward Collision Warnings” you get, the amount of hard braking you do, aggressive turning, unsafe following distance, and if you get forced Autopilot disengagements.

In October, Tesla finally launched its new insurance product based on the safety score in Texas.

The automaker says that it expects those deemed “average” drivers based on their safety score should save 20% to 40% on their premium compared to competitors, and those with the safest scores could save between 30% to 60%.

In a review of some quotes comparing the existing premiums for Tesla drivers, it was hit or miss on whether Tesla’s product was cheaper or not. There seems to be a bigger difference for those who already had a high premium based on age and gender, which Tesla insists it is not using in its own premium calculations, unlike other insurance companies.

Also, when first quoting and starting a policy, Tesla assumes a safety score of 90. The monthly premium price can quickly go down if you improve this score.

Tesla released an example that shows how the premium can change month-to-month, depending on your score:

Month Safety Score
From Trips*
Safety Score
for Rating
Monthly Premium
1 95 90 $121.00
2 88 90 $121.00
3 92 95 $97.00
4 98 88 $130.00
5 96 92 $111.00
6 93 98 $83.00

In December, the company expanded the insurance product to Illinois.

Earlier this year, Tesla Insurance expanded to Arizona and Ohio – making it now available in five states – not including California – which still doesn’t have the full product with real-time driving data.

However, today, Tesla enabled its driver safety score system to Tesla Insurance customers in California, but it says that it won’t affect premiums in the announcement:

Safety Score (Beta) is now available for California Tesla Insurance customers. For educational purposes and will not have an impact on your insurance availability or premium. You can opt-out at anytime.

Tesla previously voiced frustration about having issues getting California insurance regulators to approve its use of real-time driving data on its insurance product.

It’s not clear what its goal is with enabling it without affecting premiums, but it could encourage those who opt-in to drive safer and the fact that it’s not actually affecting the insurance product enables Tesla to use its technology without approval from insurance regulators.

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Fred Lambert

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